Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has seemingly dispatched all her opponents with ease. Each went down the same way and each opponent could do nothing to stop it. The armbar was inevitable.
Saturday night, Rousey gets a chance to lock up her first title defense, sixth straight win and sixth straight armbar finish when she faces former champion Sarah Kaufman.
Kaufman will most assuredly be her toughest test on the feet to date and is standing in the way of Rousey and a somewhat shallow women’s division in Strikeforce. Outside of Kaufman, the amount of challengers to Rousey’s crown are limited.
Unless Strikeforce brings back Marloes Coenen, Rousey has only one person standing in her way of a cleared out division, and that would be Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos.
Of course, Santos can’t drop to 135 pounds, so the fight would be contested at a higher weight, rather than for the title. Also, Santos would have to be cleared from her suspension.
If all goes right, though, Santos is the one woman on Planet Earth that can beat the current 135-pound queen of Strikeforce’s women’s division.
Santos has the total package to beat Rousey. The tenacious, and what seems like impeccable, perfect striking, plus her strength and ability to keep Rousey on her feet or match her toe-to-toe on the ground.
The two have already had their war of words and have begun the process to selling the fight that would probably eclipse any women’s fight to date. These two women are the best in the world and seem unbeatable in their respective areas—Rousey on the ground and Santos on the feet.
If there is one woman who can beat Rousey, it is Santos, who is currently riding a ten-fight unbeaten streak—albeit, highly questioned by most of the MMA community.
Of course, this goes without saying: Rousey needs to beat Kaufman on Saturday and Kaufman is no pushover. She will bring the fight to Rousey and try to attack her weakness on the feet.
Anybody can be upset in MMA and that isn’t to say the other women in Strikeforce’s ranks can’t win in a fight with Rousey. Alexis Davis can most certainly push her to her limits, and Miesha Tate is always a possibility in a rematch if she can overcome her downfalls in their last fight.
But, when you look at it, Cyborg is the perfect fighter to beat Rousey. And at a higher weight class, she can most certainly do it. If Rousey wants to prove herself after her first title defense, she needs to take on the baddest female fighter the planet has seen. She needs to face Cyborg.
Photo: Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (top) pummels Gina Carano (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)